Study 9

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

Do you ever find it difficult to be in relationship with people who are different from yourself? Maybe someone has a different worldview than you, or they have different values, or they have an argumentative personality – whatever it is – these differences make it hard to be patient and respectful towards them. There are times in life when people intentionally and unintentionally hurt us and relationships get strained. Sometimes we even hurt ourselves by making poor decisions.

During these times when we feel angry, impatient, and hurt it helps to remember to have compassion. We need to have compassion on the person who hurt us and on ourselves simply because we all come up short in God’s eyes. We are all sinners who need grace daily and not one of us is saved by our own merits (Ephesians 2:9). So often the only way I can extend this grace to others is by praying for the person. Once I start praying for them to receive the same kind of blessings that I want, my heart softens, and I am filled with compassion towards the person who wronged me. If I am deeply wounded and cannot pray for someone in the same way that I would wish to be prayed for, I begin my prayers by asking God to help me at least consider praying for the person who offended me. Soon enough I find myself praying for the same person who a day ago I could not even think about without being overwhelmed with negative feelings.

Jesus had compassion on lepers, children, the blind and lame, and even on the criminal who hung beside him on the cross (and Jesus was perfect!). If He believed it was important to be compassionate with our speech and with our actions, I highly suggest we do the same.

Q: Who in your life do you need to behave compassionately toward?

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